March 13, 2017
Though few Americans know it, the exception clause in the 13th Amendment makes a person a slave when they are convicted of a crime and sent to prison. I know that former President Barack Obama, a constitutional scholar and a Black man, understands this. I applaud his efforts to address issues of mass incarceration. I understand the symbolism of his visit to a federal prison, the only American president to ever do so. These were important first steps, but there is a long road ahead.
March 1, 2017
Zolo Agona Azania is a Black revolutionary who has spent 35 years – most of his adult life – in prison, and much of it on death row. In 1981, at the age of 21, he was convicted of murdering a police officer during a bank robbery gone bad. Unlike his two co-defendants, Zolo was arrested unarmed, walking down the street miles from the scene of the robbery, and has always maintained his total innocence of any involvement in the crime.
February 23, 2017
Late yesterday, Feb. 22, law enforcement invaded the main camp at Standing Rock, Oceti Sakowin, to evict the water protectors who had been desperately trying to move everything from the flood plain, where thousands of people were camped just a couple of months ago. During the invasion, all media were cut off and about 10 mediamakers arrested, possibly including the Bay View team. Prayer ceremonies were held on Wednesday, and part of the camp was set on fire before the eviction began. A couple dozen people are still remaining at the camp, which water protectors say sits on unceded Sioux territory, giving them a right to remain.
January 26, 2017
Today marks the first anniversary of President Obama ending juvenile solitary in the federal prison system in response to the case of New York City teenager Kalief Browder, who committed suicide in 2015 at the age of 22. In 2010, when Kalief was just 16, he was sent to Rikers Island, without trial, on suspicion of stealing a backpack. He always maintained his innocence and demanded a trial. Instead, he spent the next nearly three years at Rikers – nearly 800 days of that time in solitary confinement.
October 29, 2016
Nearly a thousand subscribers to the Bay View newspaper were denied their September papers – and we suspect their October papers as well – because of its coverage of the nationwide strikes to end prison slavery that began Sept. 9. Prison officials censoring the paper claim it will incite disruption. Like claims that someone being beaten by a gang of cops is “resisting,” the Bay View is “disrupting” prison operations.
October 2, 2016
Despite scant media coverage, the largest prison strike in history is entering its third week. Retaliation is rampant, both against the organizers in prison and against the Bay View for spreading the word. The Free Alabama Movement that started the prison-strikes-to-end-slavery campaign is defeating a violent divide-and-conquer scheme to turn prisoner against prisoner with a Peace Summit, reminiscent of the Agreement to End Hostilities in California, which this month is entering its fifth year of keeping the peace.
September 29, 2016
We, the community of writers, artists, contributors and readers outside and behind the walls, collectively condemn the ongoing attacks, censorship and banning of our San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper. For many years, officials in several prison systems, including the state of California, have from time to time taken away our incarcerated family members’ “freedom of speech” and rights to information, education, communication and connection with our broader community by denying them their Bay Views. Defend and support our San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper!
September 12, 2016
Our Kunsi of Brave Heart, White Buffalo Calf Woman Society and Stone Boy Society, are calling on President Obama to intervene in the horrific incident at Standing Rock in which vicious dogs and pepper spray were used by Dakota Access Pipeline security to attack protectors of sacred sites near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and to require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies to live up to their trust responsibility and stop this pipeline immediately. Our children deserve a thorough environmental impact statement based on meaningful tribal consultation. We are not invisible and will not be erased.
July 18, 2016
The first major survey of Bernie Sanders delegates reveals big concerns about Hillary Clinton’s pending choice of a vice presidential candidate, with many delegates expressing their willingness to publicly denounce prospective running mates and even protest on the convention floor. I spoke to Jeff Cohen of RootsAction after they released the survey results.
July 7, 2016
Philando Castile was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop for a broken tail light. Lavish Reynolds, his girlfriend, broadcast the aftermath of the fatal police shooting live on Facebook in an extraordinary video, in which she narrates the events while still inside the car next to her dying boyfriend as the police officer continues to point the gun at her and her daughter.
February 19, 2016
Just moments ago, Albert Woodfox, the last remaining member of the Angola 3 still behind bars, was released from prison 43 years and 10 months after he was first put in a 6-foot-by-9-foot solitary cell for a crime he did not commit. After decades of costly litigation, Louisiana state officials have at last acted in the interest of justice and reached an agreement that brings a long overdue end to this nightmare.
February 9, 2016
More than 100 million people tuned in to watch Super Bowl 50 Sunday night. In addition to seeing the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers, viewers also witnessed one of the most political halftime shows in the Super Bowl’s history as the legendary singer Beyoncé paid tribute to the Black Panthers and the Black Lives Matter movement. Her dancers posted a photo on Instagram holding a sign reading “Justice for Mario Woods.”
September 9, 2015
Fighting has continued in South Sudan’s oil rich Upper Nile State despite the peace agreement signed on Aug. 26. Since December 2013, South Sudan’s brutal civil war has cost more thousands of lives than anyone can accurately estimate and displaced 2.25 million people. I spoke to Syracuse University Professor Dr. Horace Campbell about what it would take to demilitarize South Sudan and give peace a chance after so many years of war.
August 30, 2015
The warring parties in South Sudan’s 20-month civil war signed a peace agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, earlier this week. Professor Horace Campbell says the recommendations of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, which include using the country’s oil wealth to benefit its people, must be implemented if there is to be any hope of lasting peace.
May 30, 2015
Support for the now-suspended New Jersey teacher who allowed her third-graders to write get-well letters to former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal was undeniable at the fateful Orange Public School Board meeting April 14. Supporters flanking both sides of Marylin Zuniga called for her reinstatement while she appealed to the board to allow her to continue teaching after the highly-criticized writing activity.
March 31, 2015
Imprisoned journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal has been taken to the Intensive Care Unit of Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, Penn., without any notification to his family, friends or lawyers. Abu-Jamal’s longtime friend, Professor Johanna Fernández, said, “We were told he was in diabetic shock and taken to the hospital.” Listen to an interview with Professor Fernández recorded by Block Report Radio at about 8 a.m., March 31, and an interview with Mumia’s brother, Keith Cook, recorded this morning, April 1. This story is being updated frequently.
February 24, 2015
Departments of corrections and state legislatures are putting into place chilling bans on free speech and expression by prisoners, formerly incarcerated persons, family members, friends, journalists, advocates and activists. Pack the courtroom for the hearing on Abu-Jamal v. Kane, challenging Prisoner Gag Law SB 508, on Thursday, Feb. 26, 10 a.m., in U.S. Courthouse, 228 Walnut St., Courtroom 2, Harrisburg, Penn.
February 21, 2015
To mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of our “Black shining prince,” as Ossie Davis described Malcolm X in his eulogy, we highlight the 2013 book, “The Diary of Malcolm X,” by award-winning journalist Herb Boyd and Malcolm’s daughter, human rights activist and author Ilyasah Shabazz. The diary entries were compiled over two trips Malcolm made to Africa and the Middle East in 1964. He did not miss a single day. “It’s really beautiful that we get to see Malcolm in his own voice – without scholars, historians or observers saying what he was thinking or what he was doing or what he meant,” observed Ilyasah. “We get to read his personal diary.”
September 25, 2014
An Ohio grand jury has declined to indict the white police officer who fatally shot John Crawford, a 22-year-old African American, who was killed inside a Wal-Mart store last month after a caller phoned police to accuse him of brandishing a gun. In fact, Crawford had picked up an unloaded BB air rifle on a shelf, an item that is sold in the store. Newly released surveillance footage shows major discrepancies between a 911 caller’s account and what really happened.
May 29, 2014
Public broadcast stations KQED and KTMP are just two stations multi-casting from Sutro Tower that are currently being blocked or restricted by the SQ administration under the guise of technical difficulties. But it is actually intentional and because these provide programs such as world news and Democracy Now, even documentaries denouncing the horrific practice of long-term torture by solitary confinement in California prisons.